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» January 15, 2009 «
Discovery of the Asian citrus psyllid on three herb shipments from Hawaii to California has federal inspectors adding the herb to the host list of the exotic pest. The shipments with the pests were discovered at the San Francisco and Los Angeles airports and were destroyed. Thus far the pest has been contained in California near the Mexican border in San Diego and Imperial counties. The insect can carry bacteria that cause a fatal disease to citrus trees.
California grapefruit production rose from third to second nationally from 2006 to 2007 and may continue to expand. Florida growers are losing grapefruit acreage to disease every year, creating supply shortages. Some San Joaquin Valley farmers are planting small acreages of new ruby red grapefruit varieties to see if they will produce quality fruit when market supplies from other growing areas run short. It takes three years for grapefruit trees to get into production and it will be that long before farmers know if their experiment works.
A program started by the Dairy Council of California in the 1930s is still showing elementary schoolchildren how milk is produced. Dairy cows are taken to schools with docent educators who demonstrate how a cow is milked. Five vans with cows and instructors are visiting schools and a sixth will soon join them. While showing students how cows produce milk, instructors also explain the nutrient values contained in dairy products. The students learn how milk goes from cow to container.
Preliminary results from research into using reclaimed water for irrigation is that it can be done safely. Scientists have been collecting soil and water samples from a municipal park using reclaimed water since 2006. Other than a slight increase in salinity, they've found no pathogens in the soil. The salinity is not sufficient to harm plant growth. Researchers are continuing their study, but believe there will be a positive result long term in reclaimed water use.Top